A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

MDT Ep. 80: Concerning Boccaccio’s Description of the Plague

Detail from a 15th-century French manuscript of the Decameron (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Français 239, fol. 1r.)

We return at last for our first episode of 2020 in the midst of the covid-19 global pandemic. As such, our text for today is the famous description of the bubonic plague as it appeared in Florence in 1348 with which Boccaccio frames his tale collection, the Decameron.

Today’s Text

  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. Stories of Boccaccio (The Decameron). Translated by Léopold Flameng, G. Barrie, 1881. Google Books.

References

  • Keys, Thomas E. “The Plague in Literature.” Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, vol. 32, 1944, pp. 35–56. europepmc.org/backend/ptpmcrender.fcgi?accid=PMC194297&blobtype=pdf.
  • Kowalski, Todd J., and William A. Agger. “Art Supports New Plague Science.” Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 48, no. 1, Jan. 2009, pp. 137-138. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40309557.
  • Marafiotio, Martin. “Post-Decameron Plague Treatises and the Boccaccian Innovation of Narrative Prophylaxis.” Annali d’Italianistica, vol. 23, 2005, pp. 69-87. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24009628.
  • Martin, Paul M.V., and Estelle Martin-Granel. “2,500-Year Evolution of the Term Epidemic.” Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 976-980, doi:10.3201/eid1206.051263.
  • “Mortality Frequency Measures.” Centers for Disease Control, Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, 3rd ed., 12 May 2012, www.cdc.gov/csels/dsepd/ss1978/lesson3/section3.html.
  • “Plague.” Centers for Disease Control, 19 Nov. 2019, www.cdc.gov/plague/index.html.

Image Credit: Detail from a 15th-century French manuscript of the Decameron (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Français 239, fol. 1r.)

2 Comments

  1. L

    So glad you are feeling better, Patrick! Been looking forward to a medieval plague talk for weeks, and MDT did not disappoint. Still my favorite podcast!!!

    • Patrick

      Thanks!

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